Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I heart groundhog/gophers!

So....a groundhog IS a woodchuck....and a gopher is a gopher. Groundhogs live in our backyard, and? BABIES ARE OUT!! So today...setting up for the bbq...I came upon 2...so cute they were, and I love them. So yay. The background on my obsession is that every year, he-and yes, there is only one and he's always the same, anyway, he waddles out.....and to the nearest dandelion head....CHOMPS down on it...then stands to chew it....and his standing does two things....1. let's him chew and 2. let's him look around for his next treat! So then he RUNS to the next dandelion....CHOMP....STAND....RUN to the next! It's the coolest process in the world. LOVE IT! They are like otters on land! So...speaking of otters? I was just at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago...which I love, and finally this time? No drama....and I got some time to chill and hang with the sea otters. I want one for my bathroom. No picture I take ever does them justice...but goodness they are SO CUTE! I mean they just primp and PLAY! Always cleaning....scratching...etc. Entertaining for sure....and weird! I mean can you imagine them on land? So...I kinda want one for my bathtub....and you cats know I'm not much of a pet person....but an otter? I might be in! I wonder if they make leashes.... Anyway, so...since I won't be getting an otter soon? This groundhog will have to do! Back to the babies...so I came across 2....they let me stare for a while....one was instantly leery of me...and waddled off....the other....just kind of watched me...I don't think he was the smart one....but then figured since his brother went...he should too...so he did, but he only got to the tree line, then turned around to poke his nose out again, then he saw me, and slowly turned around again and went further into the woods. So I turned the corner of the backyard to go in the backdoor? AND THERE HE WAS! Sitting there! And his face...his precious little face....was SCARED TO DEATH! If he'd been a baby rabbit? He'd have been "scared to death". So....there I am...in between him and the woods...but since he's new to living...he doesn't know that he could bolt left and then get to the woods....he only knows straight! So now while I feel bad that I'm scaring him? I also want a picture...and I want to feed him....and I want to cuddle with him. I get my picture....I get mom to hand me some watermelon....and I throw it his way...he does nothing...he's too scared to be curious....and knows that his mom is gonna kill him if I don't. So I go to toss it closer. Then I just GO closer...the whole cuddle part? He kind of jumps at me....and growl BARKS!!! It was SO CUTE! And a little scary...I'm convinced he could hurt me a little! Though....mom was just telling me a story about how a couple babies attacked my dad's feet and it was funny. He? Had on shoes and pants...and they were smaller....I had on capri's and flips! So....alright....I got my picture....I tried to feed you....and I tried to cuddle....missionS accomplished. I stepped aside....he didn't immediately move. But then mom said it best...give him a second and he is gonna take off at a certain point. So I had the video ready and THAT he did. What a hoot. I posted it down below so that you could enjoy as well. Just know that it's me screaming "mommy", not him...just in case you didn't know they didn't talk! You know his mom was watching...knowing I wouldn't hurt him, but she knew he needed to be taught a lesson about staying with his brothers and not wandering off! What fun that was. Sorry for scaring you little guy...but thanks for the fun pictures!!!

And for fun....some internet info...I have no idea what he is....I think a gopher...cuz they aren't that big? But some get pretty fat...and I have no idea if they hibernate or not. Anyway, so the following is stolen...there...will that cover the plagerism?

Q: What is the difference between a groundhog and a gopher?

A: The big groundhog is about 24 times heavier than the little gopher. The animals look somewhat similar, however, with short neck, legs, and tail.

The groundhog (also known as a "woodchuck" and "whistle pig") is a marmot — essentially, a giant North American ground squirrel. The gopher is, like the groundhog, a burrowing member of the rodent order but its closest living relatives are kangaroo rats and pocket mice.

The groundhog hibernates and the gopher does not. By the end of October, the groundhog descends into her hidden burrow beneath a stump or a rock, curls into a relaxed ball, slows her heart from 75 to 4 beats a minute, and drops her body temperature to that of her home. She is so far "asleep" that, even if we warm her, she needs several hours to waken.

Groundhog: species Marmota monax from the squirrel family, Sciuridae, order Rodentia

  • up to 13 pounds, 6 kg
  • head and body 20 inches(50 cm) long; tail 18 inches
  • found in eastern and central United States, across Canada, and into Alaska along forest edges abutting meadows, open fields, roads, and streams.
  • good swimmers, can climb tall shrubs and sizable trees
  • Gopher: any of 38 species from the family Geomyidae, order Rodentia

  • 0.5 pound (250 g)
  • head and body 6 inches (15 cm) long; tail 3 inches (8 cm)
  • range from southern Canada and the United States, south through Mexico and Central America, to northwestern Colombia. Found from coastal areas to above the timberline in high mountains.
  • two to three-year lifespan

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